As winter comes to an end in Australia and monsoonal rains make way for tropical sun in Asia, there’s no better time to leave the cold behind and make a quick dash to every Aussie’s favourite island – Thailand.
There’s a lot of upsides to visiting Thailand; sun, sea, a rich culture – not to mention great value for money. The only downside is deciding on which palm-fringed beach to spend your time. Fortunately, Thailand’s leading hotel group, Centara Hotels & Resorts, has a number of four- and five-star properties that span the length and breadth of the island – and value comes in spades. So, if a relaxing week on the beach is your tipple, jump on a plane to the ‘Land of Smiles’ where you have 38 impressive Centara resorts to choose from. Here are three of the most popular.
Centara Villas Phuket
One for the value-conscious romantics; Centara Villas Phuket offers relaxed luxury with sweeping views of the Andaman Sea afforded by the resort’s lofty clifftop perch. Relax in your own private pool or jacuzzi, watch the sunset from The Cliff Bar or indulge in a massage or Ayurvedic treatment at one of the best spas on the island, Spa Cenvaree.
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket
For families, you can’t go past the five-star Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, with its own in-resort, landscaped water park complete with lazy river, four lagoon-style swimming pools, two waterslides, jumps rocks and waterfalls. Two complimentary Kids’ Clubs (with a packed schedule of daily activities) and interconnecting rooms add to the appeal. All of the 262 rooms, suites and villas face the ocean with private balconies, but the one-bedroom and two-bedroom villas step it up a notch with a private pool and Club access included.
With the kids looked after, adults can slink up to the swim-up bar in the main pool, or head to the private adults-only pool that overlooks the sea. For a quiet evening drink or canape, the COAST Beach Club & Bistro promises sophistication with a relaxed, beachy vibe and for dinner, check out resort eateries, COVE Restaurant or Mare Italian, or pop into Patong, which is only a short 10-minute drive away.
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas
Further north, roughly 200 kilometres south of Bangkok airport, lies the coastal town of Hua Hin and the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas. Famous as a retreat destination for the royal family and the Thai elite, Hua Hin is the place to be if you’re looking for the royal treatment.
The director of the state railway, Prince Purachatra first built the beachfront resort he called the Railway Hotel in the 1920s to accommodate visitors to King Rama VI’s nearby summer palace, before Centara lovingly restored it to the sprawling colonial masterpiece it is today. Polished teak floors, period furniture and Thai silks hint at the resort’s royal heritage in all 207 rooms and 47 villas, with modern touches throughout – most evident in the Deluxe Spa and Deluxe Pool Villas. Located in the heart of town, you can walk to some of Thailand’s best night markets, visit one of the country’s finest vineyards or play at one of 11 international golf courses during your stay.
Thailand not on your radar? Centara Hotels & Resorts can be found in the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and Far East, including two properties among the whiter-than-white sands and cerulean-blue waters of the Maldives.
Centara Ras Fushi
Less than 20 minutes away from the airport, and accessed via speedboat in North Malé Atoll, Centara Ras Fushi is a true bucket-list destination. Just don’t bring the kids; this resort is literally made for couples and strictly adults only. Within a dhoni ride of some of the Maldives’ best surfing, and outstanding snorkelling around the island, water-lovers will be kept busy. Accommodation is mostly overwater, too, with a wide choice of dining, including Arabic, Thai, Italian and seafood options.
Centara Grand Island Resort Maldives
Unlike almost any other resort in this Indian Ocean paradise, Centara Grand Island Resort Maldives is utterly unique. The resort’s ’Ultimate All Inclusive’ concept means that, along with your accommodation, the daily rate includes three main meals at a choice of Thai, international or fine-dining Italian restaurants, champagne with breakfast, a daily replenished in-villa mini bar, all drinks from 11am until midnight at any bar or restaurant, high tea and evening cocktails.
And that’s not all; you can also take advantage of up to three dives per seven-night stay, a spa credit to use at the onsite Spa Cenvaree and up to five excursions (per week) including swimming with whale sharks, fishing, a sunset cruise, island picnic or an island excursion. Meanwhile, at the resort, there’s still plenty to do – paddleboarding, banana-boat rides, hobie cats, tennis, table tennis and more. Just remember to leave time to catch the sunset from the overwater deck.